Updated: Jun 21, 2018
'A leader. . .is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind.' - Nelson Mandela
The scene - Milano Cocktail Bar.
The time - 23h45.
David Pastor’s set finished a good hour ago, and we’re all gathered at one of the lounge corners we all love at the venue, exchanging music anecdotes or talking about the latest restaurant to become David’s favorite (there are always new ones being added to that list). And then, somehow, in the conversation, the word ‘heartache’ is mentioned. One look at each other and David and I start singing Bonnie Tyler’s infamous tune, in unison:
’It’s a heartache
Nothing but a heartache…
Wait…what’s the rest of the lyrics?
- I don’t know!!!!’
Another look at each other, we burst out laughing, aaannddd (even louder and more flat on the notes this time):
‘It’s a FOOL’S GAME! NOTHING BUT A FOOL’S GAME! LA LA LA LA LA LA
TA DA BA DA LA DOO DEE DAAAHHHH!!!'
And that’s typical Sevine and David banter right there. We start quoting a famous song, only to butcher it one line later as neither of us remembers the lyrics… and we laugh. And then we laugh some more.
And then we eat, we drink and we are merry. Because, with David, I remember to take the time to breathe, to smile and to enjoy the simple things in life.
David is like Santa Claus wrapped in honey and every day is Christmas and Valentine’s day in one.
Maya Angelou once said ‘People may forget what you say. But they’ll never forget how you made them feel’. David always makes you feel great. Whether he’s complimenting your musical skills or your shoes, whether it’s the heartfelt warmth he welcomes you with when he sees you, or his happy ‘Oleeee!’ accompanied by smiley emojis on whatsapp (even if it’s just to confirm a rehearsal, mind you), I don’t know how he does it. Everybody needs a David Pastor in their life.
It is said that the people with the best advice are the ones who have suffered the most. David is someone I would call a friend here in Barcelona. Has he been through a lot? Has his life been painful? I wouldn’t know. David doesn’t go into the delicate intimacy of his experiences, even the dark ones. Especially the dark ones. He’s got too much sun in his heart for that. So, he lets them blossom in the dark, in the secret garden where they belong, to be shared only with the person who will win that beautiful heart, maybe. He does say enough, though, for you to understand the depth of what lies beneath the words. ‘Nada es facil’. Mi vida no ha sido un camino de rosas’. (‘Nothing is easy. My life hasn’t been paved with roses’). And yet, nothing about his demeanor would ever make you suspect he’s known any hardships. He’s got to be one of the most sunny positive people I’ve ever met.
David radiates a comforting stillness, similar to the one he described in his own episode. Whatever he might have been through in his journey so far, what I see is David’s tremendous mental strength and what I call his super powers: a huge heart and high artistic intelligence. And these 2 superpowers combined made him not only find the familiar in this scary anonymous city - as he recalls it in his youth, but it’s made him thrive in this amazing city, both on a human and an artistic level. And what he's managed to do, is recreate this spirit of amicability, kindness, the community spirit, if you will, among the musicians here in Barcelona, that he’d known in Valencia, where he came from. It always seems like wherever we go, everyone knows David, and not only that, they’re all eager to sit with him, or offer him something to eat or drink. If we were in Lebanon, we’d call him ‘mokhtar’ (‘mayor’), given his gregariousness and his large network of people. Everyone wants to work with him. Because they all know the level of professionalism and respect they’re going to witness among each other, David and the organizers. Everyone lifts each other up when David is involved, no matter what project it is. He will give it the same time and attention he does to every other project he’s involved in.
Speaking of which, a few weeks ago, on a semi-drunken bet, David and I wrote a song together, our first collaboration (and definitely not our last). It’s called 38, Rue des Petites Morts and I love it! It truly embodies both our personalities and sensibilities. I love how he took the time to understand carefully what I was intending, and he crafted the music around it to reflect the state of mind it expresses... The result is a true testament to his multidimensional jazz identity. I love how he never settles for the easy and the obvious. He always takes it up a notch, and that quirk turns out to make all the difference in a song. And he applies these standards to both to original works as well as covers. Just listen to his work, my personal favorite here, and judge for yourself. The power and madness of his solos are jaw-dropping. How do you achieve so much control and self-restraint in all the madness? It takes genius, I suppose.
To say that David goes the extra mile for each project he’s working on is an understatement… We were just discussing that last night actually. David told me that when it comes to working with a new person, their musical skills are, of course, fundamental, but the person has to be worthy as well. David has a way of telling you if he genuinely likes you. He takes both hands and places them against his heart with a recognizable head shake only he owns. And he runs out of words. He just says ‘Es mi familia’ or ’Es mi hermana! She’s my sister!’ when referring to a friend. David literally wears his heart on his sleeve, and you’ll see him welcome new ‘members’ into his ‘familia’ on a daily basis. His gregariousness and ‘bon vivant’ spirit make him a source of joy to everyone lucky enough to be in his entourage. And it’s yet another reason he’s a magnet.
I could tell you about the many wonderful people I’ve met through David, the gigs I was privileged to be booked for, thanks to his support, all in good time. David’s word matters in our industry here. And everyone knows it. He’s crafted an extraordinary reputation both on the musical and the human level, and that, I believe, is his 3rd superpower.
Or, maybe he really is Santa Claus on his 364 days off in the year:)